Women Empowerment and Innovative Solutions: A Contribution Towards Combating Climate Change

6th July 2023 – To promote women’s inclusion, equality, and empowerment in the climate change space, GGGI with support from GIZ, Makerere University Business School (MUBS), and the Climate Change Department (CCD) under the Ministry of Water and Environment organized the second annual women in climate change conference at MUBS under the theme of “Accelerating Progress on Equality & Empowerment Through Innovations”.

The conference saw a focus on equity, collaborative approaches, gender-responsive policies, programs, and innovations in the fight against climate change. During the conference, it was noted that climate change impacted everyone but disproportionately affected women, youth, and children. This amplifies already-existing gender inequities and creates unique difficulties for their livelihoods, health, and safety. While at the same time, women are under-represented in the formulation and development of solutions and policies that address climate change. Speakers noted that there is a need for women and youth empowerment in Uganda to enable their access to opportunities to drive climate action. It is only through equal engagement and involvement that Uganda can reach its goals as set out in its vision for 2040, its commitment to the Paris Agreement, and the Sustainable Development Goals. Without increased equality and gender sensitivity, none of these goals can, or will, be met.

“If women could equally be at the table in decision-making processes, this world would be a better place…but without having women and youth at the heart of it all, we shall not be able to realize what we have planned” Mrs. Margaret Athieno Mwebesa (Commissioner Climate Change Department within the Ministry of Water and Environment) mentioned in her opening remarks.

Women and youth, as well as marginalized groups, are central to resolving the climate crisis in an inclusive manner. Unfortunately, they continue to face barriers that impede their advancement into leadership positions. With equal access to information and regular involvement in decision-making, they can play a meaningful role and contribute to the development of climate-resilient societies. Ms. Dagmar Zwebe, Country Representative GGGI Uganda, further emphasized this in her contribution “…having access to the right tools is important, as this would enable the women, youth, indigenous people, and other marginalized groups to contribute to climate change negotiations”.

During an interactive discussion, the critical role that women and youth play in implementing effective climate change interventions was highlighted. To achieve this, panelists’ emphasis was placed on the importance of involving the private sector and the government in equal resource allocation and intentional policy implementation respectively that would be focused on empowering both women and youth.

In a world where climate change has become a global problem, innovative solutions have become critical to combat climate change. To recognize the importance of these innovations, the conference provided a platform for a few women with climate-smart and eco-friendly innovations to showcase their ideas. Some of these innovations ranged from renewable energy technologies to recycling and sustainable agricultural practices. The innovations demonstrate the ability of women and youth to tackle climate change challenges, also presenting an opportunity for future climate-smart innovations.

As a call to action, Ms. Luigina Blaich, the Coordinator of the GIZ Uganda’s Rural Development Programme emphasized the importance of joining hands and working together to create a sustainable future.

To continue advancing women and youth empowerment, there is a need to build long-lasting relationships and strong networks. The participants of the event emphasized the importance of mentoring for example as a way to create access to information and networks. This agenda requires Uganda to embrace multi-stakeholder participation. In turn, this will help to accelerate progress toward gender equality and empowerment in Uganda.